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Hagerty Employee

Should we embrace extended-range EVs while the ultimate battery is still out of reach? | Hagerty Media

Despite a wealth of optimism in the EV segment as of late, a hard practical reality remains: The infrastructure necessary to support our short- and medium-term goals of eliminating traditional, petroleum-fuel powertrains from our street is, at present, entirely inadequate.

How dare you inject well-written, measured rationality into this debate.
Pit Crew

A conceptually similar vehicle has been sold in the USA since 2013 in the form of the BMW i3 with Range Extender. The small scooter engine does not propel the wheels, but drives a generator to give extra range. The one catch is that in order to qualify for incentives, the size of the fuel tank for the gas generator motor had to be limited to a very small amount of fuel. This means that one had to stop frequently for a couple of gallons of gas to take a longer trip. I had an i3 for two years, and found it to be an innovative and excellent vehicle for anything except longer trips. I ended up trading it for a 330e plug-in hybrid. The 330e has a short electric range that is adequate for my commute, but much longer highway range for longer trips. I think the i3 setup would be ideal, if it only had a longer range on the generator.

For under $100 you can purchase hardware (Bluetooth OBD dongle) and software to enable use of the I3’s full fuel tank capacity and provide manual activation of the REX at anything below 75% battery capacity. While the added fuel capacity is not great, it does provide a useful increase in range under REX operation.
Pit Crew

Yes, that is true. I did recode my i3 to use the full capacity of the tank, as well as recoding so I could "Hold State of Charge." This allowed use of the generator on the highway, for example, in order to save charge for driving in town at one or both ends of a trip. I would not expect that every owner would want to do that, knowing that it could cause warranty issues with BMW. My main point was to validate the idea that this kind of hybrid makes a great deal of sense as we wait for the 'battery of the future.' The i3 is a great vehicle, which may, someday, also be collectable, IMHO. I would not rule out owning another i3 or other vehicle using a similar type of powertrain.

Nice idea, this is how trains work now so scaling it down for cars should work.

I'm still waiting for the article about how Porsche wants to get into the synthetic fuel game thus making every car a zero emissions vehicle, this is happening right now. This is how technology develops people. Once a law is passed saying that something is no longer allowed someone figures out a way around that law with technology.
Intermediate Driver

The Volt was a good car that, true to form, GM killed when they got it right. Regardless of the link connecting the Volt's IC Motor to the transmission in excess of 70MPH, below that speed, the Volt was a series hybrid, and in the first 20 miles or so, speed dependent, was a pure electric. Series hybrids like the Volt, do make the most sense given our level of technology. Batteries are barely adequate for the real world, and the charging infrastructure is completely inadequate at this point. When these two pieces of the problem are fixed, then electric vehicles will be unstoppable.
New Driver

Why bother putting a byline on this desperately-crying-for-copy-editing piece of Nissan marketing?

Let the market decide. No government choosing of winners and losers. No jamming anything down anyone’s throat.

Sounds fair, doesn't it? Except fossil fuels have enjoyed over 100 years of invested infrastructure, government funding and tax breaks, etc., while being allowed to scale with population. Now newer, arguably better technologies should be forced to overcome the catch-22* on their own? Should we pay the full cost** of fuel, or defer those costs elsewhere?


Capitalism in the U.S. has a long history of government-funded nurturing, done presumably for the greater good of society. Why shouldn't alternative sources for transportation energy deserve the same benefits?


* Who will buy cars without the infrastructure to fuel them? Who will create fueling stations without cars to use them?


**Gasoline and diesel emissions create emissions with known public health costs, among other issues. There are many costs not paid at the pump born by burning fossil fuels.


Plug-in charging for home, work, or the kiosk at a local shopping district, range-extending ICE, and better battery technology are the key. This is all good engineering, while chasing a unicorn. We can all agree that reduced emissions of pollutants, reduced use of fossil fuels, and increased efficiency are wins, provided there is no corresponding trade of in utility, safety, or cost.
Why get a dedicated electric vehicle that has a ROI outside the useful life of the battery pack? Why get a hybrid, of any type, that necessitates another vehicle, when a single conventional ICE vehicle will suffice?
For each question there are people that can financially justify their purchases - to themselves, I don’t care what they buy- but most don’t fit into the narrow lifestyle where either case above is cost effective.
So, it boils down to the good old concept of emotion. I want it, I want people to see me, think I’m progressive, hip, or whatever. Those are 100% valid. Just like my 3/4 diesel powered pickup is valid. You may not see me tow on Sunday morning, or when I have the back seat filled with kiddos during the work day, the backhoe on the trailer when I’m picking up supplies where a F150 would suffice, but it all happens. Utility. It matters to many folks and that’s why historically small micro cars, range limited electrics and underpowered hybrids aren’t selling like F150s or Camrys.
So it is with vehicle options. As they fade into increasingly narrow categories and criteria, it is a shame that the discussion and focus of Engineering and technology is masking the ultimate intention of reducing flexibility of mobility and controlling the people.
You may not like what I say, or think I am crazy, but when hopping in your car to drive across the country is prohibitive, but throwing down your Covid passport and boarding a plane is the State preferred method, you may think back.

Btw, California isn’t banning the sale of gasoline (or diesel), they are restricting the sale of NEW gasoline powered vehicles by 2035. The average age of the automotive fleet is nearly 12 years old. Older in CA. It will take until 2050-2075 to get all older petroleum fueled vehicles off the road, converted to electrics, and even then ... there is the production of electricity and grid issue to address.
Intermediate Driver

Gee, good to know that the only reason someone would purchase a hybrid or BEV is because they want to be seen as hip or progressive. Who knew? Couldn't be that they operate at about the third of the cost of an ICE vehicle, never having to stop at a gas station and having your CC info stolen, or waiting in line while a dozen mouth breathers in front of you can't decide between a Moon Pie or Ho Ho's with their Coke, or what lottery ticket they can't afford but will still buy. Never needing an oil change, or 150k until the battery coolant needs changing, the likelihood that the brakes will never need replacing.

Just who is it that you think people need to financially justify their purchases other than themselves? Is there some Financial Justification Board I don't know about? BEV are getting cheaper every year and the lower priced models with the equivalent equipment and comforts are now comparable in price to ICE models.

Or that the vast majority of households are already have 2+ cars, negating your opinion that all that is needed is a single ICE vehicle. Besides my 2020 Bolt I own 5 other ICE vehicles, a pick-up and Corvette among them. So I'm not anti ICE, just fully for choice.

Which brings us to the control issue. First of all, an executive order is in no way the law, and if there are not meaningful improvements in battery technology and charging infrastructure by 2035 I would expect this will find a new date for implementation. Just for fun go to Youtube and search for the Outer Limits and watch the opening credits.

As far as your choice and or need to drive a 3/4 ton diesel pick-up, I hope you continue to have the choice to do so. I think you should be able to haul your backhoe to whatever part of the country you care to, and dig as many holes, trenches, and other "manly" excavating pursuits to your hearts content.
Intermediate Driver

The range is fine as is. All they have to do is standardize the batteries and make it a quick change operation. You would drive your car into a station and 5 minutes later drive out with a fully charged battery and go for another 200-250 miles.
Intermediate Driver

I bought a set of welding gas bottles four decades ago. Those bottles are long gone, replaced with innumerable refills over the years. Like you say, just show up at any supply shop, offload the empties, onload the full and and back to welding.  Who cares how long to safety-check the bottles and do the refill?

Intermediate Driver

I've said this once and I will say it again...hydrogen is the future. The infrastructure to deliver it already exists in the form of existing petrol stations, and it is the only efficient way to 'store' green sources of electrical energy (which it is ultimately created from).

Having said that...I believe that EV is a good interim stopgap measure that will serve the short term.
And this is coming from a dyed in the wool 64 year old lifelong gear head.

Hopefully the manufacturers will at the very least keep manual transmissions around to help keep any type of energy source go further as well as keep the driving experience as engaging as is possible.

Hydrogen has its shortcomings as well. Nearly 20 years ago, I'd hoped that the future would have favored hydrogen. But production at scale without using fossil fuels, distribution through trucking and pipelines and minimizing the expense of compressing or cooling pose significant issues. Hydrogen fuel cells are expensive to produce, and not just because they aren't being produced at scale. The best future for HFC vehicles may be in trucks and buses that need greater range than is afforded by BEV power.
New Driver

For those who missed this important correction of a significant editing error in this story (see BMD4800's post earlier):
Btw, California isn’t banning the sale of gasoline (or diesel), they are restricting the sale of NEW gasoline powered vehicles by 2035.

Here's the verbatim quote from the Calif. Governor's office 6 months ago:
"Executive order directs state to require that, by 2035, all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California be zero-emission vehicles."

Let's guess that MA and NJ followed suit - and do NOT plan to ban the sale of gas or diesel.
Hagerty Employee

You're right, and I've updated the story with a correction at the bottom. Thanks.


Been saying for years this is what needs to be done. Especially as it opens up the market of electric pickups that would actually be usable for work. This idea has been around since the 1916 Owen Magnetic and is used for large equipment to this day.

Let me clarify I am not a tree hugging, green agenda adhering eco warrior. I am a die hard racer car enthusiast and have been since birth.


But I am involved with the SAE and the performance aftermarket. I have been watching and studying the emerging BEV market and I have learned a lot.


I also have gone out and driven a number of EV models including a Hydrogen cell prototype.  

The cold harsh reality is EV is coming and it will be a major part of the coming market no matter if you like it or not. If you want the automakers to take an interest in vehicles that will appeal to enthusiast we need to get involved now. 

There are also a number of lies out there that are just not legitimate or true. 

#1 Yes we have more than enough power to charge a full country of EV vehicles. The problem is the grid in some areas. The Electric companies understand this and are working to fix these areas EV cars or not. 

#2 the  EV cars will never be affordable. False the major issue has been batteries but there are automakers already working on 3rd gen batteries that can deliver 600 miles in a decent size vehicle. They also are going to beat the $100 per KWH,  GM is looking at below $100 KW now in this 3rd gen and it may go as low as $60 KWH. Add this to cheaper interchangeable motors and you will see EV models at the same price as ICE models and over time even cheaper.


#3 cost will drop as ROI is  recovered.  Less parts, smaller plants, lower development cost, no emissions testing or extra tech to meet the regulations. Etc. this is why automakers are now embracing this. The cost of development of ICE is at record levels and delivering more annoying features like start stop. Etc. 


Finally charging times are coming down. Things will continue to improve and 80% charges in the time to fill a tank of gas is not far off. Gas stations will offer charging stations on the islands. 

Now Keep in mind this transition will be over 20 years. ICE is not going away soon. We will see new models up till 2050 as most MFGS.  will support them till then in smaller numbers. AlSo the older models will continue on for a while as well the collectors market. 

The key to us as enthusiast having models we like is to get involved and get involved now. My gas collector car is not go)by anywhere but I expect at some point I will have an EV. 

Note too the aftermarket is also gearing up to address the EV markets. They see what I have seen and know this is. Coming and they need to be ready for this. 

We have taken ICE about as far as we economically we can. EV is just at the start of development. Much like cell phones and lap tops we are still in an aggressive growth state so much can still be gained. 


to answ the Q - "Yes", thats what induces change. Investment & diversity. The net developed audio & video quickly due to sex. Yeah, that's right. Sex sells and the guys wanted more, getting that wanted more, U know the drill. Same. If we start buying it it shapes the market. I hope all sorta stuff comes out. Just like the bike industry (GB had 4, 5 co/s; Japan same - they egged each other on and innovation/sales resulted). If the multinationals had R&D investment across nations (different conditions, needs, price points, etc) we might get this thing goin, no? I think the u.s. of a. needs some more focus on EV tho. All 3: colleges, co.s, government investment. All hands on deck!
Advanced Driver

I suggested this setup years ago on a EV site when I was considering building an EV. Adequate batteries (lead acid) for 60 miles or so with a generator on board to extend range or even top off the batteries when parked and no outlet available. Ideally the generator would be sized to provide 5-20% more than the electric power for a level ground cruise speed of say 60-65 mph. Then you'd only dip into battery power when pulling hills, taking off, and passing. The extra 5-10% would go into the batteries while cruising. Again, ideally you'd have an electric start generator and an electronic battery monitor controller (computer) that would start and stop the generator as needed. The poor mans solution I was considering would have the driver monitor the battery and pull over to pull start the generator when needed. My plan was to mount a 1000-1500W generator with switch on dash and pull cord outside on the body somewhere -- just to be funny. Kind of like those magnetic wind-up keys I've seen on VW Beetles, only the pull handle would work! I can't remember if the 1500W generator would supply enough for cruising with a little left over, but it would extend range even if it's not.

Another idea would be a small trailer with extra batteries and/or generator. If the EV manufacturers could come up with a universal rear connector that would be a great rental business for U-Haul or one of the nationwide car rental companies. They already have the infrastructure to rent one-way across the country.
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

I'm no EV genius but why aren't people in the EV industry thinking of ways to use vehicle speed air pressure to turn reduction gear wind turbine generators to charge as you drive EV vehicles? Wouldn't ideas such as this put to rest the head aches of battery charge maintenance and the grids required to support them?
Intermediate Driver